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Thread: Cat C-13 opinions please!

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    Paul McGraw is offline Member
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    Default Cat C-13 opinions please!

    I am shopping for an additional truck and ran across a 2005 with a C-13 at an incredible steal of a price. But is any price low enough to justify buying a Cat C-13? This truck is $22,000 with 350,000 miles, while the same truck with a 14L Detroit is $35,000.

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    Last edited by Paul McGraw; 02-27-2010 at 08:53 AM.
    Paul McGraw, aka Maestro, Atlanta GA

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul McGraw View Post
    I am shopping for an additional truck and ran across a 2005 with a C-13 at an incredible steal of a price. But is any price low enough to justify buying a Cat C-13? This truck is $22,000 with 350,000 miles, while the same truck with a 14L Detroit is $35,000.

    Opinions?
    if you will be hauling heavy loads over the road, you wont be happy with a C-13, it's pretty good for local stuff like dump wagons

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul McGraw View Post
    This truck is $22,000 with 350,000 miles, while the same truck with a 14L Detroit is $35,000.
    Wow! And not the other way around? A you sure?
    I don't have personal experience with C-13, but it's a CAT! Should do just fine! If everything else is OK, just grab it!
    Pessimist,- is just well informed optimist!

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    Quote Originally Posted by solo379 View Post
    Wow! And not the other way around? A you sure?
    I don't have personal experience with C-13, but it's a CAT! Should do just fine! If everything else is OK, just grab it!
    Yes I am sure. I don't know about dump trucks, but any over the road tractor with a CAT will be thousands cheaper than the exact same truck with the same miles with a Detroit or a Cummins. This is because CAT is exiting the truck market, has a very bad reputation for reliability, and is known as a the worst engine for fuel mileage. All of this is bad enough, but the C13 has a history of actuator problems that are extremely problematic.

    Still, a Mercedes is even worse. The same truck with a Mercedes is $19,000.
    Paul McGraw, aka Maestro, Atlanta GA

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul McGraw View Post
    has a very bad reputation for reliability, and is known as a the worst engine for fuel mileage. All of this is bad enough, but the C13 has a history of actuator problems that are extremely problematic.
    Well, i don't know what to say. We must be talking about different CAT's. Valve actuators "problem" cost me $680, and couple hours on my C-15, after about 500,000 miles. Fuel mileage average up to date 7.1 mpg. Last week, winter time, 7.55 mpg.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul McGraw View Post
    Yes I am sure. I don't know about dump trucks, but any over the road tractor with a CAT will be thousands cheaper than the exact same truck with the same miles with a Detroit or a Cummins. This is because CAT is exiting the truck market, has a very bad reputation for reliability, and is known as a the worst engine for fuel mileage. All of this is bad enough, but the C13 has a history of actuator problems that are extremely problematic.

    Still, a Mercedes is even worse. The same truck with a Mercedes is $19,000.

    Which Cat engine had the bad injector problems?
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    Quote Originally Posted by solo379 View Post
    Well, i don't know what to say. We must be talking about different CAT's. Valve actuators "problem" cost me $680, and couple hours on my C-15, after about 500,000 miles. Fuel mileage average up to date 7.1 mpg. Last week, winter time, 7.55 mpg.
    Glad to hear you got a good C-15. If the same truck with the same miles had a C-15 it would probably sell for just a few thousand less than the Cummins or the Detroit. The C-13 has a lot worse rep. I am sure the problem engines are in the minority, I just don't want to be the one stuck with one of the problem engines. But at some point the price becomes so good that you figure it might be worth the risk.
    Paul McGraw, aka Maestro, Atlanta GA

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    Quote Originally Posted by Midnight Flyer View Post
    Which Cat engine had the bad injector problems?
    The C-15 is supposedly subject to lots of turbo problems. The C-13 has a history of actuator problems.
    Paul McGraw, aka Maestro, Atlanta GA

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul McGraw View Post
    The C-15 is supposedly subject to lots of turbo problems. The C-13 has a history of actuator problems.
    I have an 01 C-15, with 1,060,500 odd miles on it. Put injectors in it over thanksgiving. Have not had one bit of trouble with the turbo. The truck had 813,400 odd miles on it when I bought it in Feb of 07.

    I'm averaging 6.5 mpg right now....after a lot of work on the truck! :deal:
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    Well Paul, you know as well as i do, all engines might have a problems. But as far as I'm concern, CAT is still the best on a market.
    Pessimist,- is just well informed optimist!

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    I don't know anything about the C-13, but I have to ditto the '01 C-15 comments. We've had one since almost new and it's been the most trouble free engine we've ever had. Nothing done to that engine except an alternator.

    However, we also have an '05 C-15 Acert and it just broke a rocker shaft. Tear down also revealed a broken injector spring.

    By comparison, the 1995 N14 ate injectors for a long time. '98 M11 liked head gaskets (still does). '01 DD60 liked oil (million miles). '08 ISX eats injectors and a turbo and drinks coolant and has had required several ECM reprograms in it's short life.

    By the way...what is an actuator?

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    I don't know anything about the C-13, but I have had better service out of my CAT's than any other engine that I have owned. You can have problems with any engine. I have found that many of the problems that are associated with a particular brand of truck or engine is more of a driver problem or how it was maintained. My CAT's are 3406E's. I could not ask for better performance from an engine. I would consider another brand of engine, but would give preference to the yellow engine. I get better fuel mileage on both of these engines than I did with my last Detroit 12.7. I consistantly get over 6 mpg with both engines. My last Detroit did not get more than 5 mpg. Personally, I think that CAT is the most reliable engine made. I would not be afraid to buy the C-13.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GMAN View Post
    I get better fuel mileage on both of these engines than I did with my last Detroit 12.7. I consistantly get over 6 mpg with both engines. My last Detroit did not get more than 5 mpg.
    What year was the 3406E and what year was the 12.7? I bet the Detroit was post 2003?

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    One 3406E is a 96 and the other is a 98. The Detroit was in a 91 Peterbilt.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rank View Post
    I don't know anything about the C-13, but I have to ditto the '01 C-15 comments. We've had one since almost new and it's been the most trouble free engine we've ever had. Nothing done to that engine except an alternator.

    However, we also have an '05 C-15 Acert and it just broke a rocker shaft. Tear down also revealed a broken injector spring.

    By comparison, the 1995 N14 ate injectors for a long time. '98 M11 liked head gaskets (still does). '01 DD60 liked oil (million miles). '08 ISX eats injectors and a turbo and drinks coolant and has had required several ECM reprograms in it's short life.

    By the way...what is an actuator?
    Cats have a valve actuator that is operated by a solenoid, the plug to the solenoid is prone to go bad giving you a failed actuator code, usually, you just need a new plug, cost is 12 bucks for the part, about 30 minutes labor to install. I had mine replaced at Peterbilt In Jeffersonville In. the total was $112.00

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fredog View Post
    Cats have a valve actuator that is operated by a solenoid, the plug to the solenoid is prone to go bad giving you a failed actuator code, usually, you just need a new plug, cost is 12 bucks for the part, about 30 minutes labor to install. I had mine replaced at Peterbilt In Jeffersonville In. the total was $112.00
    So what....this $12 part causes valves not to open?

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    Quote Originally Posted by rank View Post
    So what....this $12 part causes valves not to open?
    the way I understand it, it just assists with the opening, the valve doesnt open correctly if it gets improper voltage which is what happens if the plug is bad

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    Funny how things work sometimes. Not funny ha-ha, but funny strange.

    Today, I'm starting to learn all about these (VVA's) or variable valve actuators. They started on the Acerts and they are responsible for holding open the intake valve a little longer. Not sure if it delays closing event or starts opening sooner but anyway, it is an Acert thing and is designed to reduce Nox levels.

    Anyway, the mechanic says I have a cracked cylinder head and he thinks it was caused from a piece of the broken VVA housing getting wedged in between the cam shaft and the cylinder head, causing the head to crack. Truck went in last Fri to repair a broken rocker shaft (common Acert problem apparently). Tear down also revealed a broken VVA housing and broken injector spring. Now we have a cracked head.

    Acerts suck.

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    Thanks for all of the feedback. It is good to hear everyones personal experience. I also talked to six different mechanics and many driver friends. Bottom line is that I am staying with the ISX as the best of the less than perfect choices.
    Paul McGraw, aka Maestro, Atlanta GA

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    Parts should be less with Cummins and CAT. I have a friend who loves his N14.

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